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  • Writer's pictureHanna Shiplett

3 Ways to Incorporate “Aging in Place Design” Into Your Home

Updated: Apr 23, 2020

Photo credit: accidentalhipstermum

This is a guest written article by Mandy Lee with Innovative Building Materials.


Nursing homes are the last place most people want to end up. While there are some nice ones and some people are forced by circumstances to reside in them, they tend to be expensive and can take away the independence of elderly folk. Growing old in your own home is certainly more preferable for most, but how can you achieve this for yourself or a loved one while planning for the inconveniences that age tends to bring? 

If you or a loved one is looking to “age in place” here are 3 ways you can design a home so as to make this as safe and low-maintenance as possible. 

  1. Wet Bathroom

A wet bathroom is designed to handle water anywhere and everywhere. This makes cleaning easier and removes the need for dangerous tripping hazards such as a shower/tub combos and others. The best way to build a wet bathroom is by installing a step-free, walk-in shower with nonporous materials. Aluminum handrails, higher toilets, textured flooring, and the elimination of sharp corners should be prioritized to maximize the safety of a wet bathroom. 

This makes your bathroom as safe and optimal for elderly citizens as possible. Removing as many tiles, cracks, crevices and other hard-to-clean areas as possible is also ideal, making for a low-maintenance and completely safe bathroom. The bathroom has the highest risk of injury and accidents in the home, so designing a safe one is of the utmost importance.

  1. Single Floor, Open-Concept Design

Ranch-style homes with open floor plans and only one story are the ideal setup for aging in place. Removing stairs or even elevators from the equation will eliminate a lot of potential risk and stress for the occupant. Open floor plans also make for easier getting around and make cleaning less of a chore as well. Cramped spaces and steep staircases are just asking for trouble, so keep it simple with a single floor and an open concept.

  1. Accessible Kitchens

Next to the bathroom, the kitchen is the second most dangerous place in a home when it comes to slips and falls. By adjusting the height of your sink and choosing a shallow one, you can make things easier. A hands-free faucet is another smart choice to make here. 

Combined with a pull-out pantry, large drawers, a microwave at counter height, lighting underneath the cabinets, front-mounted stove controls, rounded countertop edges, and a sink next to the stove, you can make the kitchen as safe as possible for yourself or a loved one.

It’s Not Hard to Age in Place

Homes are not naturally designed to be safe for the elderly, so you’ll need to upgrade if you want yourself or a loved one to be able to comfortably age in place. By including an accessible kitchen, a wet bathroom, and a single floor, open-concept design, you can effectively minimize the chances of injury while keeping maintenance needs at a bare minimum as well. 

This will allow you or your loved ones to continue enjoying their independence without worrying about the possibility of accidents happening.  

Mandy Lee is a contributor to Innovative Construction Materials. She is a blogger and content writer for the building materials industry. Mandy is focused on helping fellow homeowners, contractors, and architects discover materials and methods of construction that increase property value, maximize energy savings, and turn houses into homes. 

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